Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for February, 2012

The Switzerland of Central America

By Linda Tancs

For decades Costa Rica has been referred to as the Switzerland of Central America, owing to peace, prosperity and stability.  But let’s not forget the other Swiss-like attributes, like gorgeous mountains offering sweeping panoramic views and hiking opportunities galore.  And, like Switzerland, thrill seekers will love rafting.  Costa Rica offers some of the best whitewater rafting in the world thanks to its mountainous terrain and rain produced by the rainforests.   It’s available year-round, but white-knuckle enthusiasts should wait until May through October to get wet and wild.

Birder’s Paradise in the Bahamas

By Linda Tancs

The flamingo is the national bird of the Bahamas.  You can see 80,000 of them on Great Inagua Island at Inagua National Park, which houses one of the largest colonies of this graceful bird in the world.  Other resident exotic birds include parrots, pelicans, herons, egrets, and Bahama pintail ducks.  You might think that birding is the primary feature of Inagua.  Although delightful, the island’s main industry is salt.  Morton Salt produces about a million pounds of salt per year here—the second largest saline operation in North America.  Kind of gives new meaning to the term “salt of the earth.”


A Medieval Wonder in Bavaria

By Linda Tancs

Located at the northernmost bend in the Danube, Regensburg, Germany is a Bavarian city with a distinctive history as a center of the Holy Roman Empire that turned to Protestantism.  Its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage City, the only historic city in Germany to remain intact during the bombings of WWII.  Since its beginnings as a military base and trading post in the 9th century, the cityscape now attests to a stunning array of ancient Roman, Romanesque and Gothic structures built over two millenia.  It’s one of many sights that river cruisers enjoy along the Danube.

Ski Flying Championship in Norway

By Linda Tancs

The Ski Flying World Championship takes place now through Sunday in Vikersund, Norway.  Qualifying rounds begin today; the event ends with team competition and the prize ceremony on Sunday.  Getting there is easy.  Both Oslo Airport Gardermoen and Sandefjor Airport Torp are located approximately 90 minutes from Vikersund.

Automotive History in Boca

By Linda Tancs

From 24 to 26 February the cognoscenti from the motor world will gather in Boca Raton, Florida for the sixth annual Concours d’Elegance at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.  Amidst gourmet food, fine wines and cocktails presented by South Florida’s finest restaurants, motor enthusiasts will revel in exotic cars (including the collection of Michael Fux), custom motorcycles, spectacular boats, private jets, vintage aircraft, and luxury motorcoaches.  On 26 February an expert panel will judge a selection of the finest automobiles and motorcycles.  But perhaps best of all is the tribute to the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Aston Martin and the 50th anniversary of the Shelby Cobra, featuring a large collection of Aston Martins, original Shelby Cobras and Mustangs.  Start your engines and motor over.


Horsing Around in Norco

By Linda Tancs

The City of Norco in southern California promotes itself as Horsetown U.S.A.  That would be an apt description, considering that there are more horse trails than sidewalks.  A central part of residents’ lives is the George Ingalls Equestrian Event Center, featuring an assortment of equestrian events and rodeos.  Of course, they celebrate National Day of the American Cowboy at the Center (this year on 28 July).  This got me thinking about equestrian terms found in everyday English.  Here’s a handy list.

Racing Around the Caribbean

By Linda Tancs

Nelson’s Dockyard is the only Georgian dockyard in the world and is the largest tourist attraction on Antigua. In its midst is The Inn at English Harbour, a relaxing location from which competitors in today’s Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Caribbean 600 have been gearing up for the fourth annual yacht race around 11 Caribbean islands. The RORC Caribbean 600 features over 500 hundred competitors from at least 24 different nations taking part in this high-speed yacht race. The list of nations represented includes Australia, Austria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United States. The largest yacht competing this year is Hetairos, the world’s largest carbon composite sailing yacht and the favorite to win.

Skating Race in Norway

By Linda Tancs

The Norwegian Skating Festival is a long distance skating race on Lake Mjøsa in Moelv, between Lillehammer and Hamar.  Taking place on 18 February this year, the competition is open in all classes from 8-80 years over distances of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 km.  For those prefering a more leisurely pace, the festival also offers a celebration of all things ice, including figure skating, curling and ice fishing.  Moelv is reachable in approximately 25 minutes by train; the closest airport is Oslo.

Monaco Ballet Comes to New York

By Linda Tancs

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, the official company of the Principality of Monaco, features 50 dancers and has performed in more than 25 countries around the world.  Debuting today at New York City’s Joyce Theatre is the company’s production Altro Canto I, followed by Opus 40.  Altro Canto I is an energetic piece that premiered at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco as part of the 2006  Spring Arts Festival; Opus 40 is an ode to youth with beautiful sets and costumes.  See it now through 19 February.

A Palace in Miami

By Linda Tancs

A National Historic Landmark, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, Florida promises visitors the opulence of Buckingham Palace in a subtropical setting.  The European-inspired estate was built for industrialist James Deering and features a Main House, ten acres of formal gardens, and a native forest.  You’ll enjoy a spectacular view of the Main House from the Italian and French inspired gardens.  Inside, royal pomp is conjured by the ornateness of the dining room, Cathay bedroom, library and enclosed loggia.  The estate is just one mile from downtown Miami.

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